Monday, February 2, 2015

Cioppino with Shrimp, Scallops and Lobster Tail

I'm a huge fan of bouillabaisse. The intoxicating combination of fresh shellfish in a flavourful broth with a hint of pernod, is a beautiful thing. I've been fortunate enough to have enjoyed bouillabaise in Marseille, the reputed home of the dish, but the best was at Beach Bistro on Anna Maria Island in Florida. I spoke with one of the sous chefs a previous time I was there, and was told the secret to their recipe — homemade fish stock that takes 3 days to prepare! That's love. Oh yes, plus the freshest assortment of seafood you can imagine. I still order it every time I go there. Not all of us can pick up and head off to Anna Maria at the drop of a sunhat, but this recipe for Cioppino is a delicious and satisfying shellfish stew that is quick and simple to make. Don't be daunted by the list of ingredients, it all gets thrown into one pot and left to do its magic.

Cioppino with Shrimp, Scallops and Lobster Tail
Serves 2-4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 larg onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 orange, juice and zest
5 bay leaves
6 anchovies
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp tobasco
1 cup red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Pernod
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1 cup water
3 cups whole fresh basil
salt and black pepper to taste

1 lb mussels
6 oz salmon, or other firm white fish, cut into cubes
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lobster tail in shell, sliced in half length-wise
3 sea scallops, cut in half
1 can of baby clams, with juices

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add anchovies, onions, garlic, bay leaves, oregano and tabasco; cook until onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and cook a minute more.  Whisk together wine and tomato paste in a small bowl and add to onion mixture. Simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, pernod, worcestershire and vinegar and let simmer 30 minutes. Stir in the clams and their juices; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the mussels, cover the pan and let simmer 5 minutes. Add the fish, calamari and shrimp and simmer until they are cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Discard any unopened mussels. Stir in the basil leaves just before serving.